#aucklandeats: Do You or Do You Not Feel Bonita?

by Jasmine Kim

Bonita | 131 Main Highway, Ellerslie, Auckland 1051 

I still remember when there was a viral trend on TikTok of people asking others if they feel ‘Bonita.’ Bonita, meaning pretty or beautiful in Spanish, has been a word that’s been stuck with me since then. So when I heard that there will be a new restaurant in Ellerslie opening up called Bonita, I was instantly drawn to it. I was even more drawn to it when I found out that it’s a restaurant owned by the same creators of cafe Slowlane and The Breakfast Club because those cafes are definitely hitting all the right notes when it comes to their food and ambience.  

Urban List | Vanessa Zhao

I couldn’t imagine what Korean and Spanish cuisine would taste like as it’s such a different concept and I believe it’s the first in Auckland as well. As soon as I entered the restaurant, I was greeted by the moody, dim lit lighting with beautiful red seating, white walls and wooden tables. I was lucky enough to try seven of the course menu at a pre-launch event. I've added a photo of the menu below if you would like a full description of the seven dishes ☺️

It’s incredibly difficult to say which dish was my personal favourite as I enjoyed them all! Majority of them had some sort of Kimchi influence in the dishes and yet they all tasted very different from one another. Although Kimchi is a very strong flavoured dish, it wasn’t overpowering enough to hide the Spanish influence. 

My top picks would have to be the Raw Market Fish with radish Kimchi soup. It tasted kind of like Nabak Kimchi (나박김치) which is a watery-type Kimchi. The overall dish was like a Ceviche with Kimchi soup. I also loved the Grilled Zucchini. It was cooked to perfection - usually when zucchini is overcooked, it can be quite soft and mushy but Bonita cooked their's just right, enough for it to be still a crunchy texture. The diced tomato flavours also broke down the strong flavours of the goats cheese and actually made it quite refreshing.

I would say one of the most memorable dishes though, was the Angus Steak with Buchu Kimchi. Depending on which combination of the meat you had, the taste varied. The steak on it’s own with the jus tasted sweet and reminded me of Bulgogi (불고기) but when you have it with the butter, it tasted like Western-European steak. Add the Buchu Kimchi (부추김치) and you've got K-BBQ feels. 

Urban List | Vanessa Zhao

I honestly couldn’t fault a thing about the dishes at Bonita. I’m not an expert when it comes to Spanish cuisine but what I can say is, the dishes weren’t too Korean, nor too European which made for a really good balance of flavours and textures. I really enjoyed everything about Bonita and would highly recommend this new restaurant to embrace all the different cuisines that are now available in Auckland. They're grand opening November 3rd, so check out their times below and make your visit!

Opening Hours

  Mon-Sun  5pm Until Late


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